Concert Review: Jens Lekman, June 7th, Richards on Richards

Posted on by Vik in Concerts, Tweeview | 1 Comment

jens lekman at richards on richards in vancouver

Photo courtesy of Gina Argentina

Swedish solo sensation (and Panic Manual favorite) Jens Lekman rolled into town last Sunday to what I had hoped, make up for a disappointing start to a weekend of concerts from a couple of my indie pop faves.

Researching the gig beforehand I read that comedienne Tig Notaro would be opening the show, unusual for an indie act, but it did seem fitting given Jens quirky nature. We arrived early enough in the hope of catching Tig’s act but instead were introduced to what looked like a frat boy wearing white jeans rolled up to his shins playing an acoustic guitar. I can’t say much about how he sounds because every song sounded the same if you’re just playing a guitar and it’s nearly impossible to vocally compete with all the audience chatter.

Jens and the crew hit the stage just before ten, all wearing red and white in varying outfits and matching key necklaces. Despite not having all the instruments one would expect to hear he did compensate with a added synth and electro beats via laptop, a small issue for some perhaps but with his songs so intricately woven together, the use of a laptop to compensate for missing instruments was essential.

After a polite greeting and a “naïve request” requesting the audience not to post any video of their performance online, Jens and Co. kicked into ‘I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You’ and from the first strum he had the audience in the palm of his hands. The rest of the set consisted of mostly songs from his latest effort Night Falls Over Kortedala with Jens encouraging the fans to hum the melody for ‘Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig’ to the entire band breaking out into sweeping airplane like motions and circling the stage during ‘Sipping on the Sweet Nectar of your Memory’. Not surprisingly the crowd favorite was ‘A Post Card to Nina’, a perfect example of Jens does best, tell stories. His spoken word monologue in between each verse gave the audience a little more context to this quirky tune about a lesbian presenting Mr. Lekman as her fiance to her parents. The evening ended with 2 encores, the first and perhaps the song most fans are familiar with ‘Sweet Summer Night On Hammer Hill’ after which he introduced the members of the band, two of which were Gary Olson and Julia Rydholm The Ladybug Transistor.

The set ended just after 11 after a quick 12 song set and the crowd although audibly disappointed the show was over, gave a resounding ovation to which Jens promised to return later in the evening to have a chat with anyone who wished to stay. Needless to say my heart was going Bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp after perhaps one of the most entertaining shows I’ve attended in a long time.


I’m leaving you because I don’t love you
The opposite of Hallejuah
Black Cab
Your arms around me
Kanske ar jag kar i dig
The end of the world is bigger than love
Postcard to nina
Maple leaves
Into eternity
Sipping ok sweet nectar of your memory

Encore#1 – Sweet summer night on hammer hill
Encore#2 – Sylvia

5 out of 5

Special thanks to Gina for providing photo’s from the show. Check out a few more at

Concert Review: Camera Obscura, June 5, Commodore Ballroom

Posted on by Vik in Concerts, Tweeview | 16 Comments

camera obscura live vancouver commodore

Vancouver – With the recent heatwave Vancouver has been experiencing, it would seem fitting to have a band like Camera Obscura adding to it with their warm pop sounds but their performance on Friday night was enough to to have any twee fan cower deep within their anoraks only to peep out occasionally to see if it was all over.

The show kicked off with Sacramento trio Agent Ribbons and they managed to keep the crowd entertained throughout the entire set with their power-folk-cabaret sounds complete with vintage costumes and prancing tambourine player in a masquerade mask. A bit too dark for my taste but an enjoyable performance nonetheless.

Camera Obscura finally hit the stage a little after 10 to resounding applause from the near capacity crowd, and with a brief acknowledgment they kicked off the show with a track from their latest album ‘My Maudlin Career’. The rest of the set consisted of all the favorites from their 3 album back catalogue but as the show progressed it felt like the band was just going through the motions and nothing annoys me more than bands that put on disinterested performances.

I’ve been to enough concerts in my time to know when a band is or isn’t enjoying performing live and Camera Obscura’s performance on Friday night was perhaps one of the more irritating shows I’ve attended in a long time. One could blame the old stigma that Canadian’s aren’t the most lively concert attendees but I’ve always believed that it’s up to the band performing to do what they can to keep the crowd engaged. This definitely was not the case on Friday night. Everyone at the show seemed to be enjoying themselves with loud cheers after each song and the odd dancer closer to the stage. Fairly typical. CO did nothing to encourage the rest of us to clap or sing along and during one track closer to the end of the set, Traceyanne had the gall to take a seat and pan the crowd with a solemn look on her face. I can understand that bands have a unforgiving touring schedule and may not be always on their a-game for every show, but I and every punter in the crowd expect that they at least make an effort.

Hey Camera Obscura, I like you. I’ll still buy all your albums, recommend you to friends and play your songs till no end during sunny (and rainy) days but I think you should take a step back and take a look at how your elders Belle and Sebastian approach live performances. They’ve been around for much longer and always go out of their way to put on a fantastic gig with zero pretension. I’m just sayin’….

Here’s the setlist I had created on the fly during the show. I didn’t remember the names from all the tracks played and was going to go back and listen and add them but I think I’ll put the same amount of effort as CO did and just leave it as is. Enjoy!

#1- new album (intro track?)
#2 – new album
#3 – teenager
#4 – just can’t see 2nd album
#5 – James
#6 – new album mellow
# 7- French Navy
#8 – new album I’m going date tonight
#9 – new album ???
#10 – eighties fan
#11 – songs written for girls
#12 – looks could kill


Lloyd I’m ready to be heartbroken
Razzle dazzle rose

Photo’s from the gig can be found here.


Concert Review: A Camp, June 1st, Mod Club

Posted on by Mark in Concerts | 6 Comments


Toronto – Last night brought Cardigans singer Nina Perssons and her solo project A Camp to Toronto’s Mod Club. Nina is on tour with her band to promote their latest release, Colonia. You can read my review of this album based on Colonialism here. The show was fun, and it was great to see Nina in such an intimate venue.

Opening for A Camp was the indie rocker Gentleman Reg. The band seemed to be happy to be back on home turf after spending some time south of the border. Apparently they hated playing in Washington, a fact that Reg mentioned perhaps 5 or 6 times. In any case, it was a solid opener, and set the tone for A Camp.

Contrary to (my own) popular belief, A Camp, is NOT pronounced like “A Team”. It’s literally just “a camp”, as in “if you look around that tent, you will see a camp.” I learn things every day.

When Nina finally hit the stage a little after 10, you couldn’t help but notice her stage presence. This is a woman who has owned the spotlight ever since the Cardigans broke out in the late 90’s and it’s apparent that she is comfortable being front and centre. Her stage banter was relaxed and playful, often with fists endearingly planted on her hips. She was wearing a black dress; both Nina and the stage were adorned with colonial themes.

Contrary to (my own) popular belief, A Camp, is NOT pronounced like “A Team”. It’s literally just “a camp”, as in “if you look around that tent, you will see a camp.” I learn things every day. In any case, A Camp played songs predominantly from their latest album and on the whole the live show was more enjoyable for me than their studio album.

By the time they truly hit the the end of their set, A Camp had already used up their A List material.

I have to admit that “Golden Teeth and Silver Medals” is one of the tracks on the album that I typically skip; it feels like a trundling tune and the male vocals seem wonky and out of place. The live version of the song was spiced up with a cameo by Gentlemen Reg, not to mention feeling more upbeat than the recorded version. It ended up being a highlight of the show, along with the more standard singles: My America, and Chinatown.

If there is one thing preventing this show from getting a 4.5/5, it was the ending/encore. There was a period near the end of the set where Nina left but the band kept playing and did a bit of an instrumental thing before she returned. This was cool, but it wasn’t clear if it was the actual end of the first set. But that wasn’t an actual ending; Nina came back and played her hits. By the time they truly hit the the end of their set, A Camp had already used up their A List material. As such, their encore consisted of two new tunes. The first was a slower song and it sounded OK. The second was a rocker, but just wasn’t terribly catchy and no one was familiar with it. I felt the crowd lose their gumption for the song a few minutes into it.

The ending could have been a littler better planned. But all in all this show was a solid show.

Concert Review: Doves, June 1st, Kool Haus

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 6 Comments

Toronto – It’s been a few years since the Doves graced Toronto with their presence. With that in mind, I was surprised that the Kool Haus was only about 70% full upon arrival. I guess once you reach a certain age band wise, you pretty much lose the ‘cool’ stigma and a bunch of hipsters looking for the next best thing don’t attend your show anymore. More room for me, I say. The Doves were in town to promote their 4th full length cd, called “Kingdom of Rust” (aka Detroit in 5 years). This cd has slowly been growing on me but I have yet to listen to it enough to make a final assessment. I would say I am still a sucker for The Last Broadcast and Lost Souls.

The band came on at about 10:15 and to our surprise, there was a 4th member – Roman Rebelski, who was in charge of keyboards and all things electro. Playing against a large project backdrop featuring random videos, the Doves quickly launched into recent single Jetstream, and my oh my, instantly you can see what an addition Rebelski is to the set. With the added keyboard addition, all the Doves song seem to have an extra oomph to them. The material from the recent album had an extra kick, whether it was because of a looped beat or a some added melodies, I found the addition of the fourth dude to be quite nice. It could also be that the Doves are an extremely, extremely polished band and played each song flawlessly and without a hitch. It’s hard to believe that they’ve been around for 9 years already. Aside from a few inbetween song banters, the band mostly kept to themselves and let the music do the talking. Considering the strength of their songs, I am perfectly okay with that.

The Doves played about an hour and half, featuring songs off all four albums. Notable exceptions would be “Break Me Gently”, “Catch the Sun” and my fav “The Man Who Told Everything” which I guess never ever gets played. The crowd was greatly appreciative of the band, and while most of their songs aren’t really of the ‘rock out’ variety, there was definitely lots of fists in the air for favorites such as “Black and White Town”, “Caught by the River”, “The Cedar Room” and set closer “There Goes the Fear”.

I guess the best way to sum up the show was a conversation overhead as we were walking back to the subway station. The person said “Wow, they were really good. Now I know why people like the Doves”.

Check them out if they are in your town.